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No, minister

Former civil servants give their view on the case for reform

By John Kerr   November 2013












  Caricatures from the title sequence of “Yes Minister”— Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby (left); Minister for Administrative Affairs Jim Hacker MP (right); his Principal Private Secretary Bernard Woolley (centre) © Gerald Scarfe

John Kerr (former Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The distinction between policy (a matter for ministers) and delivery (the civil servant’s task) is a fallacy. The dichotomy is false. When initiatives come top down—whether by ministerial edict (the Lansley NHS…

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